Child Car Seats & The UK Law

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Child Car Seats

You might think child car seats are only for pre-schoolers.

You’d be wrong. The law changed on 18 September 2006:   from this date children up to the age of 12 need to be carried in a suitable

So if any of your children were born after September 1994, this means you. Remember, as the driver of the vehicle it’s YOUR responsibility
to ensure all your passengers are safely strapped in.

The old law

Before September 2006, the law states 'children up to 36kg (5 st 10 lb) and 150cm (5 feet) had to be carried in a suitable restraint where available.'

The new child seat law

This has changed – the 'where available' get-out clause no longer applies.  The new law says that you need a restraint for children up to 135cm (4ft 5in). However, safety experts recommend you use a rstraint for all children under 150cm. For those over 36kg (5st 10lb) but under 150cm, our advice is to go by height, not weight.

Within the new legislation there is still an exception for 'occasional or unplanned journeys'.   It's intended for emergency journeys where no restraint is available, say if your child needs a lift from a friend who doesn’t have a suitable seat.

The consequences of ignoring the new ruling could be expensive (at best) or fatal (at worst).  Police will be able to administer an on-the-spot fine of £30, or £500 if the case is referred to court.

Summary of new law

Child seats in cars and vans                                

Age of child                          Front seat                                                        Rear seat

Under 3 years                        Appropriate child restraint must be used             Appropriate child restraint must be used*

Up to 135cms (4ft 5in)           Appropriate child restraint must be used             Appropriate child restraint must be used*

Over 135cms or age 12          Seat belt must be worn if fitted                           Seat belt must be worn if available*

*The only exceptions are:           in taxis; 'emergency' (unplanned)
                                                 journeys where an appropriate retstraint is not available; or where two occupied
                                                 child seats in the rear prevent the fitting of a third child seat. In these cases the adult seat belt should be used

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